Fr Peter Williams, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Parramatta, has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2022 Australia Day Honours List.
Fr Peter was recognised for his significant service to the Catholic Church in Australia, and to tertiary education, alongside over 1000 recipients across the country.
Speaking to Catholic Outlook following the announcement, Fr Peter explained that he was “very honoured” to have received the award.
“It certainly came as a surprise, you never expect these kinds of things to happen,” he explained.
“Although the award has been given to me, I don’t see it as being ‘my’ award. I see it as an acknowledgement of the work of the Church and the people in the Church who do these things.
“This award also recognises the collaboration I have with both lay and consecrated men and women and clergy in my ministry.
“It is an award for all of us who are living the mission of the Church.”
Over his 30 years in the Diocese of Parramatta, Fr Peter has served as parish priest, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia since 2011, and was Administrator of the Diocese between 2014 and 2016 ahead of the appointment of Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv as the fourth Bishop of Parramatta.
Fr Peter said he was very privileged to have served in several parishes and various ministries across the Diocese, adding that one of his most important contributions was being part of the design team for the reconstruction of the Cathedral. “It was a wonderful experience,” he said.
Outside of the Diocese, Fr Peter has served as the Executive Secretary of the National Liturgical Commission from 2000 to 2011, Director of Liturgy for World Youth Day Sydney in 2008, was elected a Fellow of St John’s College, University of Sydney and was awarded the degree of Doctor of the University from Australian Catholic University (ACU) in 2014.
Fr Peter continues to teach Liturgical Studies at the Catholic Institute of Sydney in Strathfield, explaining that he is encouraged by the interactions he has with students.
Former ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Emeritus Professor Greg Craven AO, GCSG, told Catholic Outlook “no one could more deserve to be honoured by his nation than Father Williams.
“For too many years to count, Peter Williams has been the heart and soul of the Catholic Church in western Sydney.
“He is a religious polymath, able to turn his hand to anything, from building Cathedrals, to developing liturgies, to helping establish a university campus in Blacktown.
“He is a credit to his country and his Church.”
On behalf of the Diocese, Bishop Vincent wrote a message of congratulations to Fr Peter.
“We would like to thank him for his contribution to our Universal Church and his great contribution to tertiary Catholic Education.
“We give thanks to God for the difference Fr Peter has made to the Church and society and now has been duly recognised,” he said.
Fr Peter wished to thank those whom he has worked with over the years, both lay and consecrated, and those within the liturgical establishment.
“This award confirms all that I have done, all that I will do, and all that I will continue to do to live out the Kingdom,” he said.
Fr Peter will receive his insignia during a ceremony later in the year.
Read more about the 2022 Australia Day Honours List here.